Classic Blunders To Be Wary About

Classic Blunders To Be Wary About

June 01, 2021

No matter how bad you think you screwed the pooch, you can always take heart in the fact that in 1788, the almighty Austrian army attackeditself, killing over 10,000 of its own men. Obviously, people dying isn’t funny by any means, but come on. 10,000 people? Who in the world was in charge of that massive blunder?! 

In a society where we all strive for perfection, the truth is that we all make mistakes. In fact, when you really think about it, perfection is an illusion. There’s not a single person on the planet who hasn’t messed up.

Luckily, most times when this happens, the consequences of our silly actions range from the trivial to the nonexistent. We might feel a wee bit embarrassed at our missteps, but more often than not, life just keeps on going.

The world neither notices nor cares that we messed up -- most of the time, that is. 

However, sometimes mistakes -- even the itty bitty ones which seem super trifling at the time -- could end up having huge ramifications. How huge? Like, altering-the-course-of-history, huge. Yep. Could you imagine being the idiot responsible for a blunder that shaped the course of history?

Sure, while some mistakes certainly made the world a better place, we can’t help but laugh at the expense of the screwups responsible for them. All in good fun, of course. Besides, in the words of our favorite pop star secretly living a double life, “Nobody’s perfect,” and that’s just facts. 

So, what are some of these catastrophically epic fails that we should be wary about? We’ll tell you. Read on for the best classic blunders-- just do us all a favor and promise after you get in a good laugh, you’ll learn from them, mmkay?

Because as they say, those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And these hilarious blunders are surely not ones you want to repeat. Unless, of course, you have a kink for humiliation, then we say do you, boo-boo! 

Not Putting More Life Boats On The Titanic 

Everyone and their mom know of the Titanic. Known as the “unsinkable ship,” the Titanic was designed to make the long journey to America without any possible risk of going under. But one fateful night, the ship crew ignored warnings of icebergs in their path and made the not-so-smart decision to carry on.

Well, we all know what happened next; the ship slammed into a pretty big iceberg which scraped the entire right side, causing the boat to drop it like it’s hot to the bottom of the ocean, killing a whopping 1,517 passengers. 

While we can blame the crew for basically driving the ship directly into an iceberg, the first blunder actually happened before the ship even left port. These yahoos decided that they didn’t need lifeboats because, well… the Titanic was “unsinkable.”

Lesson learned here is to always be safe than sorry!

Turning Down JK Rowling 

How dumb would you feel if you had the chance to publish one of the greatest books of all time and turned it down? Pretty dumb, right? Well, that’s exactly how twelve different publishing houses felt when they realized how big Harry Potter was about to get.

JK Rowling’s manuscript was in the hands of twelve different publishing companies that rejected her before finally taking her book to Bloomsbury, who only took the budding author on following the advice of the company chairman’s eight-year-old daughter, Alice. 

The books were subsequently translated into over a whopping 60 different languages, earning Rowling’s a cool $1 billion. 

Designing Trains With Too Much Junk In Their Trunk 

The French state railway SNCF spent an impressive $15 billion on a new fleet of trains, but unfortunately, they were the incorrect size and had too much junk in their trunk for their 1300 platforms.

Since they were too wide, they had to start over, costing them an estimated $50 million to correct. 

Not Buying Google 

Believe it or not, there was a time when the search engine giant was for sale with a price tag of $1 million. Yep. Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page met Excite CEO George Bell in 1999, offering to sell. With Bell not excited about the initial offering, the duo went down to $750,000 in a bit to tempt him. He still rejected.

Not exactly a smart move, seeing as Google is valued at around $365 billion today. Oops. 

Selling Alaska 

Did you know that over 150 years ago, Russia decided to sell the vast territory of Alaska to the US in 1867? Yup, it’s true -- the two countries signed a treaty to sell the land for a sum of $7.2 million for 1,518,800 square kilometers of land.

Years after selling, Russia realized that it was an enormous blunder and that they had lost access to a whole bunch of natural resources worth billions and billions of dollars. Yikes!

Sleeping With the Wrong People 

At the end of 2009, America was completely shook by reports that the beloved Tiger Woods had engaged in not one, not two, but multiple illicit sexual affairs. Within a year, the pro golfer agreed to an unbelievable $750 million divorce settlement with Elin Nordegren.

But that’s not all-- if you include stock loss for Gatorade, Nike, and other sponsors, Tiger’s total loss from sleeping with Everybody but his wife, could be as high as $12 billion. Yes,billion.   

Invading the Wrong People at the Wrong Time

At the start of the 19th century, Napoleon’s army *attempted* to invade Russia.Whoops.

A combo of factors spelled doom for the invasion. First, there wasn’t really enough food for the soldiers and horses, so everyone was feeling a bit fatigued, to say the least. Secondly, poor discipline ran rampant within the ranks.

And lastly, none of the men were prepared for the unimaginable brutality of a full Russian winter. It was an extremely devastating failure, one that lost Napoleon 500,000 troops. 

Accidentally Taping Over the Moon Landing

Back in the good old days of data tapes, it was really easy to accidentally tape over recordings. Unfortunately for NASA, that is exactly what they did, and the original tapes of the moon landing were erased and reused. Thankfully, the geniuses realized they were able to restore the original broadcast and offered the world a glimpse of the historic event. 

The admission that NASA accidentally erased the OG footage fed rocket fuel to conspiracy theorists, who had already believed the entire lunar program that landed people on the moon six times between 1969 and 1972 was staged.  

Turning Down Jan Koum and Brian Acton For a Job

Facebook turned down programmers Jan Koum and Brian Acton at job interviews back in 2009. No big deal, right? Must happen all the time at FB headquarters…

Well, just a few years later, the brilliant duo developed WhatsApp, which Facebook subsequently purchased for $19 billion big ones. 

Not Shooting Hitler 

While there is some dispute over the accuracy of this story, it’s still pretty crazy to think about. In 1914, British soldier Henry Tandey - who later became the most decorated private in the First World War - stumbled across an unarmed and injured Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler in a ditch. He reportedly decided not to kill him in cold blood. 

Using the Wrong Measurement System

In 1999, a group of engineers used the English system of measurement, while the rest of their team used the metric system for a fancy-schmancy Mars orbiter.

The use of the two different measurement systems put a damper in the spacecraft’s navigation coordinates, causing the orbiter to get lost in space, costing NASA around $125 million. 

Building a Car-Melting Skyscraper 

A tall London Skyscraper called “Walkie-Talkie” melted cars by reflecting sunlight. Obviously, it wasn’tsupposed to damage cars, but it did because of the concave design and mirrored glass, which sent 20 focused rays of light onto the street below.

The glare ended up melting vehicles and caused doormats in nearby shops to catch fire. 

Not Taking Bitcoin Seriously 

In 2009, James Howells bought 7,500 Bitcoins when their value was next to nothing. But by 2013, they had risen quite a bit in value, giving him a multi-million dollar portfolio. Pretty sweet, right?

Unfortunately, the only problem was that he had thrown away the hard drive where the bitcoins were stored. When he realized his blunder, he went to the landfill to try and recover it, but he was unable to locate it. 

Throwing Away Millions 

A woman in England who played the lottery every single week without fail picked the correct numbers to win the Euromillions, but her hubby accidentally trashed the winning ticket.

The woman knew that the announced numbers were hers because she always wrote them down on a separate piece of paper before giving the ticket to her husband. 

Turning Down the Beatles 

An A&R man named Dick Rowe at Decca Records is known in history as “The man who turned down the Beatles.” Rumor has it that when Rowe heard the Fab Four, he told their manager that “Groups with guitars are on their way out.” Boy, was he wrong!

After their rejection, he went on to sight the Rolling Stones and several other famous groups, but missing out on the beloved Beatles was a big one. How big?

To put it into perspective for you, The Beatles have sold an incredible 600 million albums worldwide, earning over 177 million in the US alone. 

Filling Airships With Hydrogen 

The infamous Hindenburg disaster marked the end of the airship era, taking the lives of 35 passengers and one member of the ground crew. The airship went up in flames because of a tiny spark that ignited leaking hydrogen.

As the Germans quickly discovered, hydrogen is super flammable, and using it to fill airships perhaps wasn’t the smartest idea. 

Leaving the Gate Opened 

OK, so forgetting to close a door or a gate isn’t normally a big deal. Unless, of course, you’re the unfortunate Roman who accidentally forgot to close the Kerkoporta Gate at Constantinople. That poor unfortunate soul single-handedly lost a siege.

You see, the walls of Constantinople were known to be impregnable, which contributed to a sense of security and confidence for the Roman defenders, who were under siege by a much larger Ottoman force. 

So when one Roman guard managed to carelessly leave the gate open in the middle of the night, a group of 50 Ottoman soldiers took the opportunity to strike. They snuck in undercover and successfully slaughtered quite a few Roman guards. This caused hysteria in the Roman ranks, who thought that the city had somehow been conquered overnight.

The resulting loss of morale later helped the Ottomans to actually conquer the city with a subsequent invasion. The moral of the story here is to never let your guard down - or leave the gate open. 

Yikes on Bikes 

And there you have it - some of the biggest blunders of all time! While we can’t help but laugh at err caused by other people, hopefully, you learned a thing or two from this post. Whether that be to not hand over your lotto tickets to your SO or that Hydrogen is really flammable, these are life lessons (at other people’s expense) that you can hold onto forever. 

Here at Famous In Real Life, we make awesome apparel with character because life’s too short to wear boring clothes. Whether you’re looking for a comfy tee or a breezy tank, don’t make themistake of settling for boring swag. Head over to Famous In Real Life and check out our huge inventory today!

 

Sources:

 World War One: The British hero who did not shoot Hitler | BBC

EXPLOSIVE LESSONS IN HYDROGEN SAFETY | NASA

Treaty with Russia for the Purchase of Alaska | Library of Congress


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